No charges for Mercer County man in fatal shooting of his son, 7, outside gun store

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The Sharpsville man who accidentally shot his 7-year-old son outside a gun store in December won't face charges, according to the Mercer County district attorney's office.

Joseph V. Loughrey, 44, told police he had emptied a pistol's magazine but didn't realize a bullet was still in the chamber when he got back into his pickup truck while holding the handgun in the parking lot of Twig's Reloading Den on Dec. 8.

The pistol went off and a bullet struck Craig Allen Loughrey of Fredonia.

Mercer County district attorney Robert G. Kochems said the investigation found that Mr. Loughrey believed he unloaded the gun at home before taking it to the shop.

Since summer, the pistol had been stored at his home in a locked location without the magazine, according to a statement from the district attorney's office released Tuesday.

Mr. Loughrey could have been charged with carrying firearms without a license and faced up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

"Mr. Loughrey had a mistaken but good faith belief that he had properly secured and stored the firearm unloaded in his home and his belief was the proximate cause of the death of his son and not that he was carrying the firearm in his vehicle," Mr. Kotchems said, calling the death "a tragic accident."

"I am determined that our community learns from this tragedy through rational discussion and not become distracted by a polarizing criminal case."

Mr. Loughrey, of Sharpsville, had brought the handgun and a rifle into the store in East Lackawannock to sell them, but the store owner told him she didn't buy guns.

After returning to his vehicle, Mr. Loughrey placed the rifle behind the front seat and attempted to get into the pickup holding the handgun.

The bullet struck the child, who was in the passenger seat, in the chest.

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Molly Born: mborn@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1944.


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